ALAN LINNING is a partner in Sidley Austin’s Hong Kong office. He has practiced for 25 years in Hong Kong and focuses on financial services regulatory matters, investigations and proceedings, as well as complex commercial litigation. Examples of Alan’s significant experience are set out below:
- Headed the enforcement efforts of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) as Executive Director of Enforcement prior to joining Sidley.
- Acted for a Korean company accused of involvement in insider dealing in Hong Kong and successfully applyed to the High Court to strike out the SFC’s case as an abuse of process.
- Acted for a major U.S. multinational corporation in connection with issues arising from its acquisition of a mainland Chinese concern, including an investigation into accounting fraud, preparations for litigation and responding to regulatory investigations.
- Acted for a U.S.-based fund management company in proceedings brought by the SFC under Section 213 of the Securities and Futures Ordinance and before the Market Misconduct Tribunal.
- Acted for a U.S.-listed company in cross-border insolvency proceedings and successfully obtained court approval in Hong Kong of interlinked schemes of arrangement with creditors.
Alan has been recognized as a leading lawyer for dispute resolution and financial services regulatory work by Legal 500 Asia Pacific, Chambers Asia Pacific, Chambers Global and IFLR 1000. In the 2017 edition of Chambers Asia Pacific, Alan was praised by clients as “incredibly talented” for his “deep knowledge and strong background” in the contentious regulatory space. He was also recognized by clients and peers as a “balanced and smart” lawyer who “knows his regulatory stuff inside out” and with “bags of experience.” In the 2016 edition of Chambers Global, Alan was recognized by clients for his “technical skills and client care,” with one client remarking, “I am also impressed by how he is willing to take care of clients' relationship.” In the Dispute Resolution category of the 2015 edition of Chambers Asia Pacific, Alan was recognized for his “expertise in disputes involving securities and futures” and is often cited as an expert for regulatory issues. One client enthused, “I thought he was wonderful: so practical and level-headed, assertive at the right time, good on the law and most of all a dogged, solid litigator.” Moreover, in the Financial Services: Contentious Regulatory category, Alan was described as follows: “He has excellent subject matter expertise and a counseling demeanor…and knows enough about the SFC to give excellent counsel and solve problems. He has vast experience in representing listed companies in SFC investigations.”
In addition, in 2015 Legal 500 Asia Pacific, stated “The ‘experienced and responsive’ Alan Linning is a key name for contentious regulatory matters, and is noted for his ‘consistently clear guidance and understanding of commercial concerns.’ ”
Prior to joining Sidley, Alan was Managing Director and Head of Asia Regional Compliance at a leading investment bank. As mentioned above, he served as the SFC’s Executive Director of Enforcement; before that, he practiced for 13 years in the Hong Kong office of a well-known international law firm and was the co-head of the dispute resolution practice.
As a former regulator, Alan has in-depth knowledge about enforcement of the SFC’s statutory powers under the Securities and Futures Ordinance. At the SFC, he was closely involved in directing the discharge of the SFC’s statutory objectives, in the formulation and implementation of strategy, and in all major policy initiatives in the Hong Kong financial markets.
With the breadth of experience gained from Alan’s career working in the region’s commercial and finance sectors as well as with the Hong Kong regulators, he is well-placed to advise corporate and financial clients on a wide range of regulatory matters, compliance issues, and regulatory policies and developments. Alan also provides practical advice in response to new laws and regulations as well as disciplinary and judicial decisions. Alan assists Sidley clients from the financial services industry in formulating responses to formal regulatory inquiries and investigations, and he represents them or their employees in regulatory actions and litigation, as necessary. In addition, Alan has the depth of experience to be able to advise corporations, creditors and liquidators on a wide range of commercial litigation matters.
- Acted for LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK Solar) in its efforts to restructure more than US$700 million in offshore claims owed by LDK Solar and its subsidiaries incorporated under the laws of several jurisdictions. This restructuring involved judicial sanctions of schemes of arrangement/prepackaged plan of reorganization under Cayman Island law, Hong Kong law and U.S. bankruptcy law. The LDK Solar restructuring of its offshore liabilities is believed to be the first judicially approved, multi-jurisdictional debt restructuring of its kind for a China-based enterprise. Alan was responsible for obtaining sanctions from the High Court of Hong Kong for Hong Kong schemes of arrangement. In 2015, this matter was recognized by the Financial Times in its rankings of the top Asia Pacific Innovative Lawyers: Innovation in Finance Law (internationally headquartered law firms). Sidley was named as one of two “Standout” firms – the highest commendation within this category. This restructuring was also named “Energy & Natural Resources Deal of the Year 2015” by China Law & Practice, “Finance Deal of the Year: Insolvency and Restructuring” by The Asian Lawyer, “Cross Border Deal of the Year – U.S.- Asia Region” by The M&A Advisor and “Turnaround Deal of the Year, Large Mid Markets” by Turnaround Atlas Awards.
- Acted for numerous listed corporations in market-misconduct investigations (including responding to SFC search warrants and statutory notices).
- Acted for investment banks, fund managers and stockbrokers in SFC investigations and interviews and in subsequent regulatory action and litigation, both civil and criminal.
- Acted for licensed individuals, including Responsible Officers and Licensed Corporations, in disciplinary proceedings brought by the SFC.
- Acted for directors of numerous Hong Kong-listed companies in disciplinary proceedings brought against them by The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.
- Acted for a non-executive director of a Hong Kong-listed company in disqualification proceedings brought by the SFC.
- Acted for various multinational corporations and Hong Kong-listed companies investigating and pursuing claims in China and elsewhere in Asia involving fraud, malfeasance and breach of fiduciary duty, including obtaining a wide range of pre-emptive remedies from the Hong Kong courts, such as Mareva injunctions, tracing orders and Bankers Trust orders.
- Litigated a very substantial claim in the High Court of Hong Kong against the former auditors of a Hong Kong company in liquidation which was described by the trial judge as “litigation on a massive scale.” Alan was involved in this matter prior to joining Sidley.
- Acted for the Chairman of a Hong Kong-listed company in obtaining an anti-suit injunction to prevent proceedings being brought in the U.S.
- Acted for three overseas banks in litigation involving allegations of fraud in letter of credit transactions.
- Convenor, HKSAR Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal
- Chairman, HKSAR Buildings Appeal Tribunal
- Member, Investment Products and Financial Services Committee, Law Society of Hong Kong
- Member, International Legal Affairs Committee, Law Society of Hong Kong
- Member, Anti-Money Laundering Committee, Law Society of Hong Kong